I WAS A TEENAGE FAIRY

Unique language and characters turn a problem novel into romantic comedy in this tale of a molested Valley teenager and her sharp-tongued, pinky-sized companion. Groomed relentlessly for the role of beauty pageant queen, meek Barbie Marks makes a fierce wish, and meets a fairy named Mab; despite the gossamer wings and a “glimmersome twinkle,” Mab could eat Tinkerbelle for lunch. An irascible, challenging confidante, she is still around five years later when Barbie, a successful fashion model, meets Todd Range, a real “biscuit” in Mab’s approving estimation, made even more appealing by his meltingly vulnerable roommate Griffin Tyler. Time-honored complications ensue, but Barbie’s ultimate realization that Todd is The One gives her the courage to confront her domineering mother with the fact of her molestation by a photographer years before. Cut to Barbie (now Selena Moon, a new name to go with her newly independent spirit) and Todd in a cozy love nest, with Mab, having found a biscuit for Griffin, and even one for herself, bidding fond adieu. Block (Girl Goddess #9, 1996, etc.) conjures up some sympathy for Barbie’s mother, and even for the photographer, but lines between heroes and villains are deliberately drawn, and the book, with its live-wire sprite, is as bright and focused as anything she has written. (Fiction. 13-15)

Pub Date: Oct. 31, 1998

ISBN: 0-06-027747-5

Page Count: 188

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1998

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CLOCKWORK ANGEL

From the Infernal Devices series , Vol. 1

A century before the events of Clare’s Mortal Instruments trilogy, another everyday heroine gets entangled with demon-slaying Shadowhunters. Sixteen-year-old orphaned Tessa comes to London to join her brother but is imprisoned by the grotesque Dark Sisters. The sisters train the unwilling Tessa in previously unknown shapeshifter abilities, preparing her to be a pawn in some diabolical plan. A timely rescue brings Tessa to the Institute, where a group of misfit Shadowhunters struggles to fight evil. Though details differ, the general flavor of Tessa’s new family will be enjoyably familiar to the earlier trilogy’s fans; the most important is Tessa’s rescuer Will, the gorgeous, sharp-tongued teenager with a mysterious past and a smile like “Lucifer might have smiled, moments before he fell from Heaven.” The lush, melodramatic urban fantasy setting of the Shadowhunter world morphs seamlessly into a steampunk Victorian past, and this new series provides the setup for what will surely be a climactic battle against hordes of demonically powered brass clockworks. The tale drags in places, but this crowdpleaser’s tension-filled conclusion ratchets toward a new set of mysteries. (Steampunk. 13-15)

Pub Date: Aug. 31, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-4169-7586-1

Page Count: 496

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: July 1, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2010

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GUTS

THE TRUE STORIES BEHIND HATCHET AND THE BRIAN BOOKS

Paulsen recalls personal experiences that he incorporated into Hatchet (1987) and its three sequels, from savage attacks by moose and mosquitoes to watching helplessly as a heart-attack victim dies. As usual, his real adventures are every bit as vivid and hair-raising as those in his fiction, and he relates them with relish—discoursing on “The Fine Art of Wilderness Nutrition,” for instance: “Something that you would never consider eating, something completely repulsive and ugly and disgusting, something so gross it would make you vomit just looking at it, becomes absolutely delicious if you’re starving.” Specific examples follow, to prove that he knows whereof he writes. The author adds incidents from his Iditarod races, describes how he made, then learned to hunt with, bow and arrow, then closes with methods of cooking outdoors sans pots or pans. It’s a patchwork, but an entertaining one, and as likely to win him new fans as to answer questions from his old ones. (Autobiography. 10-13)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-385-32650-5

Page Count: 150

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2000

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